Talking Science – Free Online Talks

These are a series of free, online talks about a wide variety of topics, run by Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and their sister labs in Cheshire and the Royal Observatory Edinburgh.

One tough cookie; Friday 12 March 19:00-20:00, all ages: to register please visit

o    What can a biscuit tell us about engineering and the strength of the materials around us? It turns out quite a lot! Join engineer Amanda Brummitt as she uses cookie dough, oven temperatures and a recipe for disaster to explain engineering materials.

The life cycle of galaxies; Monday 22 March 19:00-20:00: to register please visit

o    Our most powerful telescopes reveal a universe filled with galaxies that come in a dizzying range of shapes, sizes, colours, and environments. In this talk, you’ll hear the life story of galaxies as we now understand it, by combining multi-wavelength galaxy surveys and state of the art supercomputer simulations.

The discovery of gravitational waves; Monday 12 April 19:00-20:00: to register please visit

o    The detection of gravitational waves some years ago, opened a new window to the Universe, created a media fuss and gave a Nobel Prize for Physics! But what is the story behind this discovery? In this talk, we’ll try to answer these questions (and maybe some more) concerning the discovery of these mysterious waves.

Spotting clouds from space with CloudCatcher; Friday 16 April 19:00-20:00, Key Stage 2-5: to register please visit

o    Clouds, although very beautiful, can be problematic for many satellite missions interested in making observations of the Earth’s surface.  This talk will introduce you to “CloudCatcher”: a Citizen Science project that asks people to help us spot the clouds in satellite images in order to check automated cloud detection. 

Light and dark – a story of the cosmos; Monday 10 May 19:00-20:00: to register please visit

o    Light is the main observable in cosmology, but most of what we “see” with this light is how the dark universe behaves. We will explore how the light from millions of distant galaxies are used to shed light on the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

Atmospheric Science – a high flying career; Friday 14 May 19:00-20:00, Key Stage 3-5: to register please visit

o    As an atmospheric scientist Andrew was lucky enough to spend nearly 10 years of his career as a Civilian Flight Test Observer with the Royal Air Force, managing access to the Met. Office C-130 flying laboratory.  Experiments ranged from Cloud Physics through Atmospheric Chemistry to remote sensing.

Countdown to launch; Monday 24 May 19:00-20:00: to register please visit

o    2021 is an exciting year for astronomy, with the launch of the highly anticipated James Webb Space Telescope (Webb). Webb, NASA’s and ESA’s flagship mission, will revolutionise astronomy. This talk will discuss the engineering of Webb and its key science objectives as we look forward to its significant astronomy discoveries.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is not an event run by Cheney School, so parents/carers will need to take parental responsibility for their child’s participation.